The bottom line, your website needs to do it all: represent your business, capture leads, close sales, climb to the top of search engine results, and connect to all your other digital platforms seamlessly. As a business owner, you need to do it all too: create content, write & design pages, connect marketing tools, test it, and not spend a million dollars or hours getting it all done.
That’s why it’s essential to set yourself up to succeed before you get busy with building your site.
Here’s a quick walk through of 8 proven tips that will take you through “I need a website” to “my website performs miracles for my business.”
#1 Prepare a website strategy.
All successful small business websites have one thing in common: a well thought out strategy. With a solid plan in place, you’re ready for success when it comes to supporting lead generation goals. Your website plan should answer the following questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What is your website’s goal or goals? (Rank and prioritize them!)
- What functionality will your website have? (what’s critical and what’s a ‘nice to have’?)
- What information do you need/want to give website visitors?
- What other web properties will your site connect to? (Think about landing pages, social media profiles, blog articles, and other third-party publications.)
- How will you measure your success? (Make sure you have the proper web analytics in place.)
Once you have the overall goals and a blueprint for creating a website, move on to making it easy for website visitors to find content. To do this, make sure your page hierarchy is clear.
“Bucket” your content by theme and importance. Try drawing out a plan as you create a high-level outline. Most people freeze up at this point so it’s important to visualize your website structure!
Here’s a basic strategy to do this:
Each website should have a homepage. Then, stemming from the homepage should be top-level pages. These pages will help group similar content. “About Us,” “Product/Service,” “Contact Us,” and “Resources” are all examples of top-level pages. More detailed and robust content will fall under each of the top-level categories.
Include a “breadcrumb” navigation at the top of website. This will help visitors as they surf through your website pages and find the content they are seeking.
#3 Keep it simple.
Simple design and text are essential to an effective small business website. An overly complicated website doesn’t convert. Too many page elements will leave the visitor confused.
So, long story short, clean visuals and text have the most significant impact on your audience. And, while we’re on the subject of simplicity, keeping your color scheme minimal is key, too. A maximum of two to three colors is all you need to make an impact.
The goal is to keep it simple and make it easy for customers to discover what you’re all about while navigating the site.
#4 Maintain well-defined calls to action.
As a small business, you don’t need to be wordy. Clearly state what you want people to do.
Use phrases like, “Subscribe to our newsletter,” “Make your reservation now” or “Email us for a free quote today.” After you identify your page structure, sketch out your content sections and maintain well-defined Calls to Action (CTAs), then layer in conversion prompts, alert bars, and more! Your lead forms should be prominent and enticing as well.
#5 Make your design stand out.
Now is the time to gather up all of your multimedia assets, define your design and make sure your branding is buttoned up.
Make sure to select a font package and color palette. Test out which trends work best for your product or service. Here are a few suggestions:
- Have dynamic typography
- Geometric shapes
Did you know, 90% of small business websites don’t consider smaller device screen size when creating their website? The fact is, around 30% of website traffic is mobile.
Before publishing anything on the web, always consider desktop and mobile devices. Having a site that isn’t optimized for mobile devices can drive customers away, hurt your SEO and appear unprofessional. This is the main reason to choose a website builder that allows you to preview your page on different devices.
To determine if your website is responsive, or needs a little work, use Google’s . Here you can enter your URL and it will tell you whether your page is mobile-friendly or not. This tool is color coded: it gives you a green light if your website passes, a yellow light if there is potential for improvement, and a red light if you need a lot of help.
#7 Add social sharing icons.
Social sharing buttons are key for a small business website. Why? Social media channels provide potential customers added information about your small business, including customer reviews, location, pictures, and more. Blogs and social content give small business owners the chance to create fresh content on their website. Unlike fixed home and top-level pages that typically stay the same, blogs and social feeds freshen up a page.
In fact, of Google’s organic search ranking factors, “freshness” of content ranks high on the list. Fresh content provides a good user experience but is also effective from an organic search perspective.
#8 Optimize for organic search.
Google has a complex algorithm with more than it uses to rank websites on the web. So what can you do to increase your chances of ranking in top organic search positions in spite of increased complexity and competition?
Here are a few on-page SEO strategies:
250 words per page-copy length it critical for SEO. Text gives website crawlers data to review and index for search engines!
Focus on keywords-Focus on optimizing each page of your site with one primary keyword target per page, using a different keyword each time. Perform research using to find high-volume, low competition keywords.
Include SEO elements, such as metadata and keywords- integrate the primary keyword in the following elements:
- Metadata: meta-title, meta-description, and keywords
- Header tags (H1, H2, H3…)
- Body copy
- Alt tags (images)
So that’s it in a nutshell! We hope these 8 tips for building an effective business website are helpful!